Thursday, December 28, 2006


The Way Forward Is Over Here. Seriously. (2007)

One can't blame the ISG for trying to recapture the magic- and sales – of their debut work so it's not surprising that this volume covers territory familiar to readers. Truth be told, it's the exact same book but with a flashing LED read-out cover, several small horns attached to it that sound whenever movement is detected in the room, numerous pre-attached post-it notes indicating the most urgent passages, and a free video game where you get to be a baseball playing robot. It is hoped that the president will notice this new edition and read it.

Sitcoms: The Way Forward – A New Approach (2008)

After seeing strong sales but disappointing real world results from their previous works, the Iraq Study Group takes on the perilous state of the American situation comedy. Beset with the ongoing and worsening threats of reality shows, medical dramas, and a deadly new strain of reality medical drama, the state of the sitcom is bad and worsening. The group's ideas are sometimes distressingly meek (hold summit conferences with networks, invite Michael Bay to the bargaining table) and sometimes baldly self-serving (cast Lawrence Eagleburger as a wacky neighbor on "Coach: The Next Generation", create sitcom called "What About Vernon Jordan?"). Taxpayers are right to wonder if their tax dollars have been well spent.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Way Forward – A New Approach (2010)

While it's very possible that Sandra Day O'Connor's grandson is a fine baseball player, the Iraq Study Group seems to be losing focus this time out. Ed Meese's knowledge of minor league economics is strong as is Leon Panetta's lengthy chapter on proper bunting technique and both offer hope to fans of the beleaguered franchise. But the overall tone of the report is bleak. The no longer publicly funded group suggests stemming the flow of bats, balls, and other equipment into the Tampa-St. Petersburg area while simultaneously launching a series of phased trades to disperse players. The group also seems to fail to take into account the possibility of Tampa native and strongman Jose Canseco regaining power. The photo section of Eagleburger shagging fly balls feels tacked on and is in fact difficult to look at.

Are You There God? It's Me, Lawrence Eagleburger (2011)

The rest of the group still includes their names but there's only one member truly behind this atrocious coming-of-age story. The fact that the "woman's special time" section was not removed in editing is proof that there is no God.

The Iraq Study Group Report on the Iraq Study Group: A New Way Forward (2012)

After widely reported acrimony between members of the once close-kit group and ill-advised offshoot projects (Charles Robb's emo-core concept album, Allan Simpson's backyard wrestling league), the ISG has found itself at a crossroads. Should they disband or try to keep the team together? Sadly, they chose the latter. Meeting in a trailer specially airlifted to the featureless great plain where Iraq once stood, the members crafted a series of recommendations for how the group can continue making recommendations. But their string of critical and commercial failures, the advancing age and declining health of the members, and their lack of government funding leading to abject poverty, make for a tough ride on the road to new ideas. The matching jumpsuits sound like fun and everyone loves trust walks but where will the money come from for the underwater fortress and the rocket bikes? Sadly, these ravings are proof enough to anyone still doubting that the ISG's time has passed.

Iraq Study Group Babies: Journey to Lollipop Island (2017)

Everyone's favorite group of adorable pint-sized future-ex-government insiders are on a magical journey to help a lost candy bird find her way back home. Based on the #1 animated series in the world, this is sure to delight toddlers, preschoolers, and select members of the Project for a New American Century and the Brookings Institution. Will Sandy, Jimmy, Lee H. Hamilton and the rest of the gang get the bird home before deadly sectarian violence rips Lollipop Island apart? Read and find out!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's funny until you get to the squirrel picture...

then it becomes transcendant.
A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) About Politics

HIM: Why is 4th of July a big deal?
ME: That's when people signed the Declaration of Independence. It was this thing they wrote that said America was its own country, separate from England.
HIM: And that's when George Washington became President?
ME: Shortly after that, yeah. But they wanted to make him king and he said no, I'll be president because we shouldn't have kings. That way when people want a new president, they can elect one every four years.
HIM: Bush shouldn't have been elected again. Or even the first time. He starts wars!
ME: Well a lot of people agree with you, Charlie.
HIM: Why does he do that?
ME: I think he's very confident in the decisions he makes and often doesn't listen to people who try to tell him he's wrong.
HIM: Yeah. His brain is all zig-zag and wobbly. Barack Obama will be better when he's president.
ME: You mean if he's president.
HIM: Oh come on, Dad. He's going to be president. People are sick of all the light-skinned men, they want a girl or a dark skinned man.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) About Christmas

HIM: Dad, who is Santa's Dad?
ME: Wow. I don't know. I never thought about it.
HIM: I think I know. Jesus.
ME: Really? Why?
HIM: Well...just think about it.
The Other Night at Elliott Bay

The book tour for Conservatize Me pretty much wrapped up on 12/12 at the Elliott Bay Book Company in downtown Seattle (well, Pioneer Square, which is quasi-downtown). It was a wonderful way to wrap things up, at least mostly, at least until the paperback, with a couple of small exceptions.

Matthew Baldwin led off the evening reading things from the estimable Defective Yeti blog he maintains. It's unorthodox for readings to have an opening act but I asked him to read for two reasons: 1) he's oh so funny and should receive a much bigger audience and b of all, it made the event feel more festive, like a celebration of words and jokes and things like that.

I read mostly the same passages I usually do but the crowd, quite enormous (I mean in numbers, they weren't obese), was vocal and happy and energizing. Best of all, for me anyway, was the appearance of my family. Jill and the kids sat in the back row and except for occasional bouts of wiggliness, listened. When I opened the floor to questions, Charlie had the first one. It was funny because readers of my work know that he's kind of my muse and a hush went over the room when he spoke. Afterwards, with no real provocation to do so, he walked to the front of the room and took a bow. Later, he signed some books. I would do my studied, rehearsed author signature with a black Sharpie (fine point) and he would follow with a huge CHARLIE in purple marker. I felt like I was doing a joint appearance with a Star Wars obsessed 6-year-old J.D. Salinger.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Point / Counterpoint

Criticism is part of the deal when you write a book. Recently someone posted on their LiveJournal this assessment of my efforts:

"Wow, this was bad. Moe's writing style, you know, is like full of verbal, you know, tics. Um, yeah. Like, hard to, you know, read? That's not counting the overwhelming condescension he walks into every situation radiating. The bits worth reading are where Moe interviews Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg and some of the other bright conservative lights and realizes that they've thought their way into their positions. But mostly, it's full of cheap shots and knee-jerk silliness. This book too could have been great and isn't even close."

Their friend, or cyberfriend, or electrofriend or whatever, said this:

"I heard Moe speak at the Texas Book Festival (on a panel with David Rakoff, who was who I went to see). I thought he was hysterical, but I can see how a book of his could be annoying, since it sounds like he writes much as he speaks. Which is rarely a good thing. Guess I can cross that book off my "to read" list--thanks!"

To which I replied this:

"No. In person, I'm a complete boor. A total disappointment. You think you're going to like me but I just let you down. You become sorry you ever spent the money to be with me. Sure, I might be to some people's tastes but man, you just won't get it. Save your money and just hang out with David Sedaris instead. He's always reliable.


Friday, December 15, 2006

A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) Where the Mystery is Solved

HIM: Dad, women have nipples to feed babies.
ME: Right.
HIM: And do you know why men have nipples?
ME: No. Nobody seems to know the answer to that one.
HIM: I think I know. It's for doing oogas.
ME: Doing...?
HIM: Oogas. Like gorillas beating their chests or Tarzan when he beats his chest and yells. It makes those sound louder.
ME: Men's nipples are drums?
HIM: Well, I think so.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Look at the defcon house! Look at the defcon house!

It's a new blog (thank goodness! new blogs!) by Jeannie Yandel and Aaron Jeannie Yandel's Boyfriend. Jeannie is the former bass player for Sleater-Yandel, a band that went on to bigger things and a name change after she left. But not really.

It's much better than some other new blogs.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Final Reading of Conservatize Me

Happens tomorrow night (12/12) at the esteemed Elliott Bay Book Company at 7:30. This is it. No more readings. Unless you're in Walla Walla in January. But otherwise: your last chance. Until the paperback comes out in the fall. But really: step up. Opening act will be the dangerously funny Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti fame. promises that we will be "creating a vortex of funny that will swallow Seattle whole." And that is true.
Makes a great gift!
Did I mention I wrote a book?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Merry Christmas, kids! We got you Irony!

Now for sale!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Watchers of television programs will be able to see me on one of those programs tonight. I'll be appearing, probably for like three minutes, on the Glenn Beck show on CNN Headline News. It airs on the west coast at 4pm, 6pm, and 9pm. If you're in other time zones, hey, what am I a mathemagician? If anyone ends up YouTubing it, lemme know.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

69 Photos of Children Terrified of Santa

Ho ho ho! Here they are!